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The Oratory, Birmingham, MY LORD,

June 9, 1866. I HAVE had the honour of receiving from your Lordship, as Chairman of the Schools Inquiry Commission, a letter requesting me to offer the Commissioners any suggestions I may have to make on certain four points connected with the subject of educational endowments, which they consider to be of special importance.

It would have given me great gratification, had it been in my power to avail myself of the opportunity thus afforded to me. But the subject of endowments has never come before me ; nor have I any stock of experience on which I could draw, did I set about forming an opinion on the difficult matters in question.

Under these circumstances, I trust the Commissioners will not consider me wanting in due respect towards them, if I ask to be excused attempting a work which I could not execute either to their or to my own satisfaction.

I have, &c. The Right Hon. Lord Taunton.



Batsford Park, January 18, 1867. I AM sorry to find that your letter of the 1st January, enclosing a letter from the Chairman of the Schools Inquiry Commission, was laid aside by me among some papers not requiring attention, and escaped my notice until to-day. I hasten to offer a few remarks on the questions submitted to me, and hope that the Chairman will accept my excuse and apology for the hasty manner in which they are drawn up, as you desire an early answer.

I. Entirely gratuitous education appears generally objectionable. A reduced scale of payments in favour of the inhabitants of places, or others, for whom free schools have been founded and endowed, is reasonable. It seems desirable that the master should derive some pecuniary advantage from all the scholars, and from boarders if possible in schools of a moderate size. To deprive him of all pay from the endowment would prevent a school getting a good master unless it was large and flourishing, and until it has acquired a reputation under a good master there is little chance of its becoming either, and in some places the school could never be expected to become very large.

II. The grouping of schools for the purpose of placing the management of their endowments under a local board and a central London authority appears to me most objectionable. I believe that when care is taken to appoint proper trustees, the more local the management of such property, the cheaper and more efficient it will be. As a trustee of Campden Grammar School, which has been raised from a low state and is improving,

I speak with confidence on this point. The increasing interest felt throughout the country in education must have a great effect in securing the appointment of good trustees, and on their attention to the trust.

III. Not knowing what endowments are alluded to as wasted, I am unable to give any direct reply to this question. Some persons would perhaps consider endowments wasted which I should not, and if at all connected with such should object to any interference with them. Moreover, very few endowments indeed belong to the class proposed to be educated in these echools, and to take endowments of any sort from the poor to assist those above them in the education of their children would in my opinion be robbery.

IV. The obtaining good teachers depends on what you give them for their work. They are to be had in plenty, without special training, if you can pay for them, and that is the important point to consider. The cost of a training school applied in aid of salaries would get twice as many good masters as the institution would supply. Whenever the restriction in the foundation deed as to the master being in holy orders applies to the head master, I do not think it should be abolished. If it applies to all the masters the question may be open to consideration in each particular case. I request you to place this letter before the Chairman.

I have the honour to be,

Sir, To the Secretary,

Your obedient servant, Schools Inquiry Commission.



Goodwood, January 7, 1867. I HAVE the honour to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of January 1st, and its enclosure.

I have not considered the various subjects referred to in that paper sufficiently to enable me to express any opinion on them.

Yours faithfully,


Rev. JAMES E. THOROLD ROGERS, M.A., Professor of Political

Economy, Oxford. MY LORD,

Oxford, August 21, 1866. I HAVE the honour to acknowledge your circular letter of May 28th, and I must express my regret that I have been unable till now to give my attention to the important questions which it contains. I will attempt to state as succinctly as I can, the views which I entertain on the points which you raise; and I may observe that if I am too brief, I shall be prepared to give fuller reasons for the opinions which I state.

1. Perhaps the worst use which can be made of educational endowments, is that which gives an invariable stipend to the teacher and wholly gratuitous education to the scholars. The evil is greatest as a rule, when the scholars are boarded and clothed as well as taught. Admission to the school becomes a matter of patronage and intrigue, the persons for whom the endowment was originally designed are invariably ousted, and the teacher has a simple routine to perform, in the fulfilment of which he has hardly any natural interest. But just as when an endowed school is hampered with this patronage it is sure to be depressed, so when it is liberated from such limitations its progress is generally rapid. Thus the nomination to the foundation of Winchester was almost as vicious a system as could be, and the consequences were manifest in the low academical position of New College. Since, however, the patronage has been taken away, the school has made a great start. I do not admire the present system of election to that school, for it simply gives the whole charity to the rich, for whom the endowment was not designed; but it certainly gets some of the best boys from the upper iniddle classes.

When, however, the income of the teacher is wholly dependent on the school fees, the master is apt to cram his best boys and neglect the others. The risk, perhaps the reality, of this practice is the solitary charge made against the system of local examinations put forward by Oxford and Cambridge. A similar tendency is objected to proprietary schools, some of which, though wholly self-supporting, are successful rivals of ancient and largely endowed grammar

schools. I believe that the best way of stimulating the teacher is to make his income partly fixed and partly fluctuating, to compel a system of inspection and examination, and to provide that examiners, appointed by an authority wholly external to the school, and its local board of management, should publish a report on the condition of the school, and (in case it be determined to endow the best scholars with exhibitions) should elect to such places.

Exhibitions given to scholars, i.e. endowments in aid to parents for the education of their children, are, under certain conditions, excellent adaptations of such funds as are available for this purpose. But they should be given to such persons only as are willing to declare that the exhibition is an important aid to the means at their disposal for educating their children, or that they cannot carry out such an education effectively without that aid. A rich parent may claim with all justice, as many scholastic or academical distinctions as he can get for his son ; but he has no moral or equitable right to endowments; the sole object of which was, the discovery and promotion of natural ability and industry, when pecuniary means were wanting to the possessor of these gifts. As far as I know, the nearest approach to so desirable a result is attained in the Birmingham grammar school, though some of the details in the management of this school are far from


perfect, in the absence of any proper guidance to the imperfect and uninstructed powers of the local board.

Pensions should be given to retiring masters; but they should be given of right, not out of favour. The obvious machinery by which they could be supplied is the quasi insurance system adopted in the civil service; which consists in the deduction of a per-centage from the fixed income of the official, for the superannuation fund.

II. I think that all endowed schools without exception should be grouped in districts, for the purposes of administration, supervision, and inspection. It would be most convenient, perhaps, to merge all endowments existent within a district into a common fund, and to parcel out the income according to a definite plan ; the chief features in this plan being (a) that “ English “commercial ” schools should be supplied from the general fund, as well as those which are called “classical ;” and (b) that such a machinery should be adopted as would render it possible that boys from the lowest schools might, in case they possessed capacity and industry, be drafted into the higher schools, from which selections would ultimately be made in the ordinary way for the Universities. In short, just as the Government grants are rendered available for the education of the children of mechanics and agricultural labourers, so existing endowments should be applied to the education of classes above them, with the special purpose of making these endowments the means for detecting and promoting ability and diligence. Not a few persons doubt whether at the present time endowments in aid of education are really public benefits ; but if it be admitted that they are, the above-named plan seems to me the best use which could be made of them; and furthermore, according to the cy près rule, that which is nearest to the real purposes of founders.

The funds should be administered, and the chief masters in each kind of school elected, by local boards. The first of these functions is limited and ministerial; the second would be, I think, sufficiently controlled by public opinion. I conclude that the grouping of districts and schools would be the act of a royal or parliamentary commission, whose schemes would be ratified or rejected by the Queen in Council

. The inspection would, I believe, be carried out most efficiently by the two Universities, under the machinery of their local examinations. Any Government inspection would be unpopular, partly because such a machinery is generally and reasonably disliked, partly because it could exercise no efficient police, and partly because it would not command confidence, for, as a rule, whenever a high Government official nominates out of a body of candidates, it is generally believed that he chooses the least competent. Again, any inspection of schools conducted by examiners appointed for the purpose by the governors and head masters is private and unsatisfactory.

All details of expenditure and all results of inspection, should be published annually, and in a compendious form, by, I suppose, the Education Department of the Privy Council Office, who would, on my hypothesis, adopt the report of the University inspectors. Except in so far as the issue of this publication I cannot see that much more could be done by a “central authority in London.” To insure the success and efficiency of local boards, as much authority as possible should be left in the hands of such a board, due care being taken to appoint proper persons, and to define their functions. These functions might be the appointment of chief or head masters in all the schools, high, middle, and lower, the supervision of such masters, and, if need be, their removal or enforced resignation.

III. I make no doubt that a large mass of endowments, intended originally for educational purposes, or naturally and conveniently available for them, is wasted, perverted, or misapplied. Most persons have experience of such a diversion of educational funds. For example, I remember that in a small parliamentary borough in the south of England, in which an endowed school exists, the income of which was reputed to be about cool. a year, the trustees or governors, a number of country gentlemen, devoted nearly all the funds to clothing and feeding a limited number of boys, and retaining the nominations in their

own hands, employed the patronage for political ends. But I presume that information as to these endowments ought to be attainable through the Charity Commissioners.

But beyond those endowments which have been bestowed specially for educational purposes, or wbich can be reasonably interpreted to be available for such ends, there is a mass of local charities of a permanent character, some of which might under the conditions of modern society be diverted from their present objects with great public benefit. Some of these charities are no doubt of great service. Endowments in aid of hospitals are of such a kind ; so in a minor degree are some almshouses, asylums, and penitentiaries. But by far the largest part of these endowed charities are not only of no real public service, but are mischievous and demoralising in the last degree. It is a general rule that the parishes which have the largest amount of local charities are distinguished for pauperism and wretchedness. It is unnecessary for me to point out why it is that such a result is inevitable.

I am not aware that any account has been given as to the annual income of these local charities. They amount I am informed in this city (Oxford) to many thousands a year. But their value could be obtained through the income tax commissioners, since the House of Commons resisted, on sentimental grounds, a proposal made by Mr. Gladstone that they should contribute to the income tax. I presume then that a formal exemption is required, in order that they should escape. To divert these funds from physical to educational charity would be to stop a great public evil

, and do a great public good. To employ these funds in the interest of those for whom they were originally intended would be common justice, and this end would be served if they were applied to the formation of such

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